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Polit. ii. 9, ed.Bekk. ; Plut. Pel.<24> Ages. 31— 34; Diod. xv. 62—67 ; Paus. iv. 26, 27, ix. 14 ; Polyb. iv. 33 ; C. Nep. IpTi. 21.) On their return home Epaminondas and Pelopidas were impeached by their enemies on a capital charge of having retained their command beyond the legal term. The fact itself was true enough, but they were both honourably acquitted, Epaminondas having ex-, pressed his willingness to die if the Thebans would record that he had been put to death because he had humbled "Sparta and taught his countrymen to face and to conquer her armies. Against his accusers he was philosophical and magnanimous enough, unlike Pelopidas, to take no measures of retaliation. (Plut. Pelop. 25, De seips. cit. inv. laud. 4, Reg. et Imp. Apoph. p. 60, ed. Tauchn. ; Paus. ix. 14 ; Ael. F. H. xiii. 42 ; C. Nep. Epam. 7, 8.) [pelopidas ; menecleidas.]
In the spring of 368 he again led a Theban army into the Peloponnesus, and having been vainly opposed at the Isthmus by the forces of Sparta and her allies, including Athens, he advanced against Sicyon and Pellene, and obliged them to relinquish their alliance with the Lacedaemonians; but on his return, he was repulsed by Chabrias in an attack which he made on Corinth. It seems doubtful whether his early departure home was owing to the rising jealousy of the Arcadians towards Thebes, or to the arrival of a force, chiefly of Celts and Iberians, sent by Dionysius I. to the aid of the Spartans. (Xen. Hell. vii. 1. §§ 15—22 ; Diod. xv. 68—70; Paus. ix. 15.) In the same year we find him serving, but not as general, in the Theban army which was sent into Thessaly to rescue Pelopidas from Alexander of Pherae, and which Diodo-.rus tells us was saved from utter destruction only by the ability of Epaminondas. According to the same author, he held no command in the expedition .in question because the Thebans thought he had not pursued as vigorously as he might his advantage over the Spartans at the Isthmus in the last campaign. The disaster in Thessaly, however, .proved to Thebes his value, and in the next year (367) he was sent at the head of another force to release Pelopidas, and accomplished his object, according to Plutarch, without even striking a blow, and by the mere prestige of his name. (Diod. xv. 71, 72, 75 ; Plut. Pelop. 28, 29.) It would appear—and if so, it is a noble testimony to his virtue—that the Thebans took advantage of his absence on this expedition to destroy their old rival Orchomenus,—a design which they had formed immediately after their victory at Leuctra, and which had been then prevented only by his remonstrances. (Diod. xv. 57, 79 ; Paus ix. 15 ; Thirl-wall's Greece, vol. v. pp. 120,121.). In the spring of 366 he invaded the Peloponnesus for the third time, with the view chiefly of strengthening the influence of Thebes in Achaia, and so indirectly with the Arcadians as well, who were now more than half alienated from their former ally. Having obtained assurances of fidelity from the chief men in the several states, he did not deem it necessary to put down the oligarchical governments which had been established under Spartan protection ; but the Arcadians made this moderation a ground of complaint against him to the Thebans, and the latter then senti harmosts to the different Achaean cities, and set up democracy in all of them, which, however, was soon overthrown everywhere by,a counter-revolution. (Xen. Hell, vii, 1.
§§ 41—43; Diod. xv. 7£.) In b. c. 363, when the oligarchical party in Arcadia had succeeded in bringing about a treaty of peace with Elis, the Theban officer in command at Tegea at first joined in the ratification of it; but afterwards, at the instigation of the chiefs of the democratic party, he ordered the gates of Tegea to be closed, and arrested many of the higher class. The Mantineians protested strongly against this act of violence, and prepared to resent it, and the Theban then released the prisoners, and apologized for his conduct. The Mantineians, however, sent to Thebes to demand that he should be capitally punished; but Epaminondas defended his conduct, saying, that he had acted more properly in arresting the prisoners than in releasing them, and expressed a determination of entering the Peloponnesus to carry on the war in conjunction with those Arcadians who still sided with Thebes. (Xen. Hell. vii. 4. §§12—40.) The alarm caused by this answer as symptomatic of an overbearing spirit of aggression on the part of Thebes, (withdrew from her most of the Pelopon-nesians, though Argos, Messenia, Tegea, and Megalopolis still retained their connexion with her. It was then against a formidable coalition of states, including Athens and Sparta, that Epaminondas invaded the Peloponnesus, for the fourth time, in b. c. 362. The difficulties of his situation were great, but his energy and genius were fully equal to the crisis, and perhaps at no period of his life were they so remarkably displayed as at its glorious close. Advancing to Tegea, he took up his quarters there; but the time for which he held his command was drawing to an end, and it was necessary for the credit and interest of Thebes that the expedition should not be ineffectual. When then he ascertained that Agesilaus was on his march against him, he set out from Tegea in the evening, and marched straight on Sparta, hoping to find it undefended; but Agesilaus received intelligence of his design, and hastened back before his arrival, and the attempt of the Thebans on the city was baffled. [archidamus III.] They returned accordingly to Tegea, and thence marched on to Marttineia, whither their cavalry had preceded them. In the battle which ensued at this place, and in which the peculiar tactics of Epaminondas were brilliantly and successfully displayed, he himself, in the full career of victory, received a mortal wound, and was borne away from the throng. He was told that his death would follow directly on the javelin being extracted from the wound; but he would not allow this to be done till he had been assured that his shield was safe, and that the victory was with his countrymen. It was a disputed point by whose hand he fell: among others, the honour was assigned to Gryllus, the son of Xenophon. He was buried where he died, and his tomb was surmounted by a column, on which a shield was suspended, emblazoned with the device of a dragon—symbolical (says Pausanias) of his ^escent from the blood of the ^Traprot, the. children of the dragon's teeth. (Xen. Hell. vii. 5 ; Isocr. Ep. ad Arch. § 5 ; Diod. xv. 82—87; Pint. Ages. 34, 35, Apoph. 24; Paus. viii. 11, ix. 15; Just. vi. 7, 8; Cic. ad Fam. v. 12, de Fin. ii, 30;: Suid. s. v. "E.ira.fjiivwvoa.s; C. Nep. Epam. 9 ; Po-, lyb. iv. 33.) The circumstances of ancient Greece supplied little or no scope for any but:the narrowest patriotism, and this evil is perhaps never more ap-parent than when we think of it in connexion with